Can Diabetics Eat Idli? Is Idli Good For Diabetes

Last updated on August 3rd, 2023

It is essential to monitor your diet if you have diabetes. Your food determines your glycemic control in a significant context. As we all know that breakfast is the most important meal for diabetes patients, so it needs to be healthy. Idli is one of the most popular and light breakfast options, but can people with diabetes eat Idli? Idli is made of rice flour and urad daal that affects blood sugar levels; that’s the reason people with diabetes always get confused about whether Idli is a healthy food option for them or not. Let’s read this blog to understand this.

What Is Idli?

Rice flour and black lentils (urad dal) are used to make Idli. After soaking these two overnight, a batter is prepared and fermented. Then this fermented batter is steamed in an idli maker. It is one of the lightest and healthiest breakfast options as it is steamed with no oil. These rice cakes or Idli are a popular South Indian cuisine.

Nutritional Value Of IdliNutritional Value of Idli

Idli is a low-calorie food everyone loves for its nutrition and healthy ingredients. It is packed with nutrients like protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals that are good for your health. Despite being a high-carb food, it can be disguised by its other nutritious components.

The nutritional value of 100 grams of Idli is following:

Nutritional Value of Idli
Nutrients (in 100 grams of Idli) Its amount
Calories 58 kcal
Fat 0.4g
Saturated Fat 0.1g
Total Carbohydrate 12g
Sugars 0.1g
Protein 1.6g
Iron 3.3%
Potassium 41mg
Vitamin C 0.2%
Calcium 0.8%
Vitamin A 0%
Sodium 75 mg
Cholesterol 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Dietary Fiber 0.5g

It is easily digested and keeps your gut healthy since it is fermented, . Its fiber content also keeps you full longer and relieves gastric issues like constipation.

Read More: Is Rice Good For Diabetes?

Glycemic Index Of IdliGlycemic Index of Idli

Rice and lentil idli has a high GI of 60-70. It is high in carbs and releases glucose in the body quickly. The glycemic index is a value that determines how much a particular food can increase sugar levels in the body. Foods are divided into three categories based on the glycemic index. These categories are low, medium, and high GI food. The glycemic index of low GI food is between 0-55, and good for diabetes patients. It does not impact sugar levels much. Medium GI food ranges between 56-69.Try to have it in moderate quantities. High GI food affects sugar levels and increases sugar levels. The GI value for high-GI food is over 70. It’s good to avoid high GI food to control sugar levels.

So can diabetics eat idli? Idli has a high GI, so to enjoy this light breakfast, try to replace rice and black lentil mixture with moong dal idli, beetroot idli, etc. That way, you can enjoy this steamed healthy food without being concerned about spikes in sugar levels.

Read More: What are the Glycemic Index and ways to calculate the Gi Value of Food Items?

Idli And Diabetes

The prevalence of type 2 diabetes is increasing amongst youth. It is a lifestyle-borne disorder that results from unhealthy food, a sedentary lifestyle, and stress. Obesity is also one of the reasons for the development of type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is not just one disease but a spectrum of multiple health problems. Some diabetes-related complications are heart disease, high blood pressure, retinopathy, neuropathy, kidney problems, etc. High sugar levels gradually deteriorate your other organs and tissues. You can manage type 2 diabetes by making lifestyle changes like adhering to a healthy, low-carb, high-fiber diet and exercising. Managing stress and quality sleep also aid in controlled sugar levels.

When it comes to diet, it is vital to keep a close eye on your diet. You should follow a healthy diabetic diet that does not affect your sugar levels. Including high-fiber, lean protein, low-carb, low-fat, starchy vegetables, whole grains, and fruits can help you live an everyday life without any medication or sudden sugar spikes.

Breakfast is the most important meal for diabetic patients. Skipping breakfast can lead to high sugar levels and other diabetes-related complications. When it comes to breakfast, healthy steamed Idli is everyone’s favourite. Idli’s main ingredients are rice and black lentils. Rice is carb-rich and starchy food that tends to increase sugar levels, whereas black lentils affect blood pressure. So, to make your breakfast healthy, substitute rice and lentils with either high-protein dal idli, moong dal palak idli or foxtail millet idli.

This way, you can make Idli a healthy breakfast. Since it’s steamed and oil-free, it does not affect your blood glucose levels.

Idli is incorporated with Sambar or dal with vegetables. This meal is nutritious because the protein-rich dal or Sambar slows glucose absorption. It is also easy to digest and thus quickly increases the absorption of vitamins and minerals. So, a healthy substitute of idli is good for diabetes.

Read More: Is Apricot Good for Diabetics?

Benefits Of Idli in DiabetesBenefits Of Idli In Diabetes

You can replace diabetic-friendly ingredients to make Idli for your taste and health. You can also make Idli with multigrain, various pulses or dal and veggies like spinach with dal batter etc. It can make this healthy breakfast healthier.

Idli is nutrient-dense with many minerals and vitamins. The body easily absorbs it as Idli is easily digestible.

To make Idli more diabetic-friendly, you can add various vegetables and spices. It can increase the food’s fibre content and slow the glucose release into the bloodstream.

Idli is fat- and cholesterol-free, which helps you to control your sugar levels and prevent stroke and heart diseases.

It makes you feel full, so you don’t feel hungry often. It keeps your sugar under control.

Idli is oil-free, steamed, and fat-free and keeps you full for a long time, so it helps you to reduce your weight. Obesity causes type 2 diabetes and increases sugar levels in existing type 2 diabetic patients. So it is essential to keep your weight under control.

Idli is rich in iron and keeps your blood well-oxygenated, which makes idli good for diabetes.

Read More: Best Vegetable with Low Glycemic Index for Diabetics. 

Other Health Benefits of Idli

Apart from controlling sugar levels (not rice and lintel Idli), Idli also gives some other health benefits:

Helps in Weight loss

Idli is a light food, especially when made with diabetic-friendly ingredients. It is also rich in fibre and nutrients and thus keeps you full for hours. It reduces hunger pangs and helps you to reduce your weight.

Rich in Iron

Idli is rich in iron, which is essential for immunity and overall development. You can fulfil this requirement by adding Idli to your diet.

Read More:  Is Cranberry Juice Good for Diabetics?

Good for Health

Any nutrient-dense food is beneficial for the body. Idli has an abundance of vitamins, minerals, fibre, protein, and carbs. It meets a lot of daily requirements of your body. Make sure you use a better substitute than rice and lentil batter.

Light for Digestive System

It is easily digested and does not cause any gastric problems. Easily digestible food provides good vitamins and minerals quickly as the body absorbs nutrients from it.

Read More: Are Sugar-Free Biscuits Safe for Diabetics?

Ways to Consume Idli

Since regular Idli is made of rice and lentils high in carbs, it can have an adverse effect on sugar levels if eaten in excess amounts. You can have Idli in different ways:

  • Instead of having rice and lentil idli, try diabetic-friendly idli substitutes like dal palak idli. They are healthier and easily digestible.
  • Eat Idli with Sambar and chutney to make it healthier and protein consumption.
  • Add vegetables like carrots, beans, and bottled gourd to the Sambar to make it tasty and healthy.
  • You can light fry Idli with curry leaves, green chilli, and onion to make it spicy and healthy.
  •  Do not eat Idli in excess instead of having small amounts to keep sugar levels in control.
  •  Add onion, curry leaves, etc., to make masala idli.

Read More: Are Peanuts Good for Diabetics?

Other Recipe of Idli For Diabetes

Masala Oats Idli

You can have masala oat idli. Roast oats and then grind them. Then take a pan and heat a little oil; add urad dal, chana dal, green chilli, turmeric, grated carrot, and rai. Now mix oats powder into this mix. Add curd to it and make a consistent batter. Then mix a little eno for fermentation. Grease idli mold and pour batter to steam. Serve hot.

Foxtail Millet Idli

You can replace rice with foxtail millets and use the regular idli procedure. It’s a healthy option.

Moong Dal Palak Idli

Soak moong dal overnight and add palak (spinach), curd, and salt. Blend it and make a batter. Grease the idli molds and pour this batter into the molds. Add some fruit salt before adding it to the molds. Steam it and eat hot, soft, and tasty idlis.

Read More: Chart For Normal Blood Sugar Level For Adults with Diabetes

Side Effects Of Idli  In  DiabetesSide Effects Of Idli In Diabetes

There can be some side effects of consuming idli in diabetes :

Increase Sugar Levels

Excess idli consumption can increase blood sugar levels even though it’s fermented and light.

Gastric Problems

If you eat Idli excessively, it can lead to some gastric issues like:

  • Bloating
  • Heartburn
  • Acidity
  • Cramps

Read More: Top 10 Natural Remedies For Diabetes?

Bad for Gluten-Sensitive Individuals:

Having rawa idli can harm people with gluten sensitivity as it is high in gluten. It can cause:

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Colic pain.


Idli is a light snack for breakfast, but when it is used in the right way and amount. Since rice is high carb and starch food, it can spike sugar levels, so making this a healthier food option, substitute this with light and low-carb options multipulse, beetroot, dal palak idli etc. Idli is packed with various nutrients, giving you both energy and nutrition. It fills your iron requirement and aids immunity. It is also easily digestible, so don’t put extra stress on your digestive system. Since it’s easy to digest, your body can absorb the vitamins and minerals in the Idli. You can make various healthy idli dishes, like masala oat idli, foxtail millet idli, masala idli with vegetables, and moong dal palak idli.


What Are The Healthy Substitutes For Rice Idli?

Replace rice with other nutritious and healthy options to make Idli a healthier snack. Some healthy substitutes for rice idli are oats Idli, moong dal palak idli, ragi idli, foxtail millet idli, masala oats idli, etc.

Is Idli Good For Diabetes?

Moderation is the key. This high-carb, high-GI food is likely to increase sugar levels. Keeping it to a minimum and having it with Sambar with lots of vegetables can minimize its sugar-spiking properties. However, keep its quantity low or substitute rice with other healthy options like rawa, suji, ragi, multigrain, etc.

Why Is Idli Not Good For Diabetes?

The glycemic index of rice and lentil idli is 71, which is too high. Consuming high-GI food increases sugar levels and can have adverse effects. Also, it is high in carbs which again break into glucose in the body resulting in high sugar levels.

How Many Idlis A Diabetic Person Can Eat Per Day?

Idli made from rice is high in carbs, so it can cause sugar spikes if you have rice idli; just one serving of Idli is safe. Having it with Sambar can minimize its highglycemic effect. If you are having non-rice Idli, then you can have two servings.


Last Updated on by Dr. Damanjit Duggal 


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